Category Archives: shame

I Choose to LOL (Live Out Loud)

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imagesAbout a month ago, I was in a real slump.  I was feeling inferior to other people (particularly women).  I was feeling insecure and questioning my worth as a human being.  I was feeling ugly and negatively judging my body.  I was feeling self conscious in my old mini-van and it’s lack of cool.   I was resenting my role as a mom.  The boys, they too, had stolen my cool factor.  I was doubting my ability to go back in to the work force and contribute quality work that others would value.  I began to become dissatisfied with the size of my home, the style of my clothes, the color of my hair, the small number in my bank account.  I was comparing, judging, and sitting in the ugliness of the stories my mind was creating and buying. The lies began their sneaky little job of creating this web of madness within me.

Once I realized that this funk was turning ugly and affecting the way I was viewing the world and treating the people around me, I decided I needed to take a hard look at what had changed to cause such unhappiness.  Adam had been out of town during this period of downward spiraling and I had engaged in a lot of, what I believed to be, harmless fun.  I watched Bachelor in Paradise from beginning to end.  I watched the Kardashians.  I lazily browsed on Pinterest and Etsy while watching music videos.  And I was on social media much more frequently…even adding the FB app to my phone.  Media was actually affecting my view of the world.  My view of self.

And there it was, the answer was that simple. I am sensitive to what I view and can easily fall victim to the solicitous agenda of media. I know that not everybody will be as sensitive as I am to overt sexuality and portrayals of what women should be.  Some of us are more sensitive to violence or consumerism or the top ten lists of how to be perfect in some fashion of life from parenting, religion, or home organization. We are all comparing ourselves to a standard sold to us. We are always “failing” at something according to someone. Even if that someone lives inside an electronic box selling a non-existent one-size-fits-all-perfection-solution.  I bought in to the lies, sold to me by the people inside that box, that my 36-year-old female self was all washed up. If I don’t look like the Kardashians, sell sex like JLo, have the same perky body of the women competing for “love” on Bachelor in Paradise, if I’m not as perfect as all my “friends” on FB, and if I’m not buying or wearing the latest/greatest…well then I’m not worth anything. I’m not attractive. My husband won’t want me for much longer. I need to make changes. Run faster. Workout harder. Get a six pack. Make more money. Eat less. Dress sexier. I’m clearly inadequate. I need to be better. Lie after lie quickly building a foundation of self hatred. I wanted to hide my insecurities from all of you. From my friends, my family, my husband. I wanted to appear stronger and more secure than I was. And so I hid. I had been hiding other areas of my life and just added my insecurities and self hatred to the dark corner of other secrets.  The longer I hid, the more insecure I felt. I was now living a false truth. Another mark against my clearly flawed self.

Lucky for me (and those around me), I was quick to recognize that my thoughts were turning into an ugly infestation and I was able to reflect quietly enough to identify the culprit. That damn media had its grasp again. I immediately turned off the media inputs, reached out to my girlfriends and was open about how I was feeling and I soon found myself worthy again. As I rid my life of the noise shouting at me who I was, who I wasn’t, and who I should be, I found who I really am.   In the silence, I found that I am me. Perfect me. And you are you. Perfect you.

 

One way that I have found my center time and time again is to be vulnerable in sharing. I find great healing in sharing in this blog. I become connected to those around me when I let down my guard and show vulnerability in sharing my struggles. I find that others open up and share too. We build a safe community where we can be real and genuine no matter where we are in our journeys. I recognized in this time of disliking myself that I had stepped away from my purpose of living out loud. I had started to hide for fear of being judged. I had gone inward and become alone. I had lost some of my integrity. I needed a good kick start to getting back to a life of vulnerability and authenticity. I was given that good kick-in-the- ass a few weeks ago when I had the pleasure of attending an event in which Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, wa10174916_10152050667061493_5333993137919276168_ns speaking. In that forum, she spoke about Radical Honesty. Cheryl’s belief was the equivalent of my belief of living out loud. Here was a woman who was baring her life in a truly authentic way and I, along with so many others, connect with this type of vulnerability. I felt the pull and encouragement to come out of hiding and begin sharing again.

 

I’ve started by sharing my deep, dark, scary secrets with my best friend, my husband. He’s held such a safe space for me and encouraged me to share whatever my heart needs to share. With his encouragement, I am ready to restart the practice of Living Out Loud with Radical Honesty. I hope that you all will continue to hold a safe space for my sharing, for the sharing of others, and find your safe spaces for vulnerability too. Start by sharing one secret with someone you find trustworthy. Or even begin by writing down the scariest secret you can think of sharing and burn it or bury it. Just writing it down is one step toward healing and letting it go. Freedom from the lie that secret has sold you.  I think you’ll find the more you share the less scary it becomes. And you’ll start to love you a helluva a lot more. Others will gravitate toward you because your energy will be absolutely pure. And, before you know it, you’ll not only be your own safe place but a safe place for others to practice Radical Honesty.

 

So who’s with me? Who’s ready to LIVE OUT LOUD? Journey with me, Friends! Let’s change ourselves, our circles and our communities with a little bit of Radical Honesty!

 

 

 

 

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Be the change that you wish to see in the world ~Gandhi~

Gandhi said it best in this quote and it’s always spoken to me more on a global scale. By global, I mean that I’ve always sought to serve others, be respectful, be kind, be genuine, be honest, raise responsible, aware young boys and trust that the world would return those same qualities. A what we give or put out is what our world will aspire to be kind of thing.

Well the last six months I’ve sort of sat myself knee deep (okay waist deep) in a self pity that I didn’t even recognize. While my goodness and good intents have not changed, my energy has. I used to trust. I don’t trust many any more. I used to be open and vulnerable and I’ve become scared and closed-off. I had gotten a good grasp on acceptance, happiness, enjoyment of the now. I’ve backtracked and I let the past and the uncertain future cloud the current beauty that surrounds me. Before I smiled freely. Now the smile is hard earned. Before I cared for my body with healthy choices and long runs. Today my body is a representation of the stress I have allowed to take hold.

February marks the 6 month anniversary of the event that changed our lives. And how fitting it would be that I would pick up the February issue of O magazine (something I never do!) and sit down to read an article that would positively impact my life. It was as though the woman (Martha Beck, Life Coach) behind the article reached out of the pages, slapped me across the face (in a good intended, best friend kind-of-way) and said, Amy, now is the time. Now is the time to step away from your funk, pull up your big girl pants, kiss the past goodbye, change your course, accept a new destiny, stop fighting the universe, and take charge. Be the change. A positive change. Yes, she really did say all of those things! At least I heard all of those things 🙂

I can’t control the past. I can’t control people’s opinions of the past. But I CAN control me and my representation of the past. The one thing I have not done is let go of the shame and hurt. The shame has dragged me down.

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The hurt has jaded me. They’ve aged me. Changed me. Converted me in to a burdened shell of who I am. After reading this article, shame had left. Gone. Pain felt strangely cleansing. They’ve had their time. Now is time for my true self to re-emerge. And I realized that what Gandhi says applies to my every day energy. I have to be the energy that I want to see in my own life. The energy I put out is the energy I will receive back. It’s not necessarily always applicable to a global change. By changing my energy I can change what I see in the world. And that is enlightening.

For six months, roughly 180 days, I have relived that first week of August. Every. Single. Day. When a few short minutes in the lifetime of minutes you’ve lived, change everything, it’s hard not to get swallowed by those minutes. To live in them over and over and over again. So much gone. So much vanished in to that everlasting black hole of time and space.

Black Hole in the universe

Reality is this, those were a really shitty 10,000 minutes (If I count that entire first week of August when things were literally changing by the minute). Reality is also this, I have lived roughly 18.5 million good minutes (give or take a few thousand)! 18 million!!!! Time to send those 10,000 minutes to the land of lessons learned. They’re nothing but a bit of chump change.

Because I would love all of us to appreciate the good minutes and learn how to ride out the not-so-good minutes I want to share a few key points from this article and how it so simply canceled my pity party and booked my Life-is-Pretty-Damn-Good-Party. No more looking back. Only forward.

If you’ve had a run of horrible luck, you can tell yourself you’re being tortured or punished. Or you can decide you’re being steered.

Mark and I have discussed this a number of times. We almost feel that we are fighting against what the universe wants from us or for us. We’ve always wanted and planned to do bigger and better things with our lives. Give back to our communities in substantial and meaningful ways but we’ve consistently allowed life and the pursuit of things get in our way. Now the universe almost won’t allow us the pursuit and we are deciding to be steered. Letting go is way easier than being tortured!

She-Ra, He-Man, and Teela

She-Ra, He-Man, and Teela…Masters of the Universe!(Photo credit: Han Shot First) 

Suddenly, everything’s shaking, jolting, falling apart. We have no idea what’s happening or why, only that all hell has broken loose. It gets worse and worse – until we wake up, see through our false assumptions to the deeper truth of our situation, and revise our life maps. This isn’t punishment. It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.

Best line ever! “It’s enlightenment dressed as chaos.”

So the three steps Martha Beck suggests for finding your true self when you’ve hit a “rumble strip” on life’s highway is to 1) Hit the Brakes, 2) Put your mind in reverse, and 3) Find and follow smooth terrain. All straightforward and fairly simple.

When you feel so beaten down that you can’t sustain normal activities, it’s time to stop trying.

Stop sign

Stop Everything!

Except what’s necessary to survive. Eat. Sleep. Go to the bathroom. Make sure your children, pets, and sick parents eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. If that’s beyond you, ask for help. Not forever. Just for now.

We both have had stretches of time that looked a lot like this over the last few months. Luckily we make a pretty good tag team. When I’ve been up and cheery, Mark’s been in barely surviving mode. When Mark’s high on life, I’m sometimes too beaten down to sustain beyond eat, sleep, pee. Tag. You’re it. Our teamwork has helped us during those really dark moments when the only thing there is to do is survive that singular moment. Ride the wave of despair and nothing more. Fortunately, in the last few months we’ve had way more up days than down days. More sun than gloom.

Reversing off the rumble strip:

…key assumptions are clearly marked with intense negative emotions: fear, anger, sadness. Such feelings are big red WRONG WAY signs. Back away from them. Try throwing your mind into reverse right now. Think of the worst, most hurtful thing that’s happening in your life. Now, think of a way this horrible thing might be good.

Phew, that was a heavy step. But there is good. I’ve discovered who has my back, no matter what.

Rumble Strip Sign

I’ve been able to move forward with really positive support around me. We moved to the PNW! We have wanted to do that for awhile but were too chicken to take such a big leap. We bought an RV and have been out enjoying grand adventures as a family. Our core unit (the 6 of us) has become super close and there is an abundance of love in this home. I’m getting paid to write! That never would’ve happened if I had the luxury of staying complacent. There’s a lot of really positive to be seen even with those few bad minutes as part of the equation. The good in those minutes is that they forced change.

Finding the Smooth Road:

At the point when someone sees through a false assumption, the road of life suddenly turns smooth. Instead of crazy bad luck, bits of strangely good luck start showing up. They’re small at first, inconspicuous. Never mind – slather them with attention.

I love this! There’s so much good. Some of it super small, but when you slap some gooey positive attention all over that teeny bit of goodness it starts to seem like some crazy golden universe nuggets.

If you stop everything you think you should be doing, surrender to what’s actually happening, reverse your assumptions, and steer toward the glimmers of light that appear as your old beliefs shatter, the small miracles will turn in to big ones. Eventually, your good luck will seem as incredible and mysterious as your bad. Once more you’ll be asking, Did I do something to deserve this? Only this time, the question will arise from a sense of overwhelming gratitude, not overwhelming pain.

Good Luck Bad Luck

Good Luck Bad Luck (Photo credit: Stewart Ho)

After I read this article, I spent one more day fighting against the universe and then I surrendered it all. Not one more day like this. Not one more day. And you know what, since that release I feel whole again. I feel like Amy is here. She’s found her way back and I’m ready to shine on during the next 50 years of my life…or 26 million plus minutes. I’m enlightened and am the change. My change.

I’ve Been Life Coached!

Picture Perfect

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I’ve been viewing a lot of nude women these past months as I explore my take on pornography, media, women’s rights, and body acceptance.  I, personally, have rarely ever frowned upon an obese person and thought of them as disgusting or not attractive.  In fact I usually find that ALL people are beautiful in one way or another.  True that I am more attracted to the tighter, firmer, more hairless bodies but I understand that what is underneath our clothes has little to do with the person we are or the attractiveness we carry.  Certainly we have all been around that super model 20-year old who even with all her physical Kabam! can’t keep our interest for more than a minute.  You know, the girls that look gorgeous but carry absolutely zero substance because society has praised them for their looks and left them unchallenged in their maturity and growth as women.  These are the women who you like to ogle and fantasize about as long as their mouth is taped tightly shut.

And, of course, I’ve longed to look like the swimsuit models, playboy models, or porn stars that men often seem to think are the pursuit of life.  I’ve wanted to be physically desired in the same manner as those women.  I’ve never wanted to be the envy of other women but to know that a man, including my husband, would think that I could compete with a supermodel, well that would just be a life worth living.
How many of us get caught up in wanting to be physically desirable?  How many of us alter ourselves through diet, exercise, surgery, beauty products, clothing we can’t afford, all so we feel desirable?  I know I have and do.
But the more I research the more I understand that there is so much more than our bodies that makes us desirable.  Unfortunately cameras usually can’t capture our essence but only our outward appearance.  And as we age, as we birth babies, as we get illnesses, as we fluctuate in weight, as gravity takes it’s toll, the pictures will always fail our true beauty.
And when it comes down to it…you can alter me with photoshop and make me stunning too.  I can be thinner, with less acne, brighter skinned, and made in to a picture perfect false image of myself just like every supermodel, playboy model, and porn star I see.  That’s not really them.  That’s just the image of those women that greedy companies are selling us so we keep trying to live up to an impossible standard.  The very women in those pictures are unable to live up to the standard they are selling.
So I’m saying bravo to the women in the Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar!  Men and women, these are what real ladies look like and they are far more beautiful than anything I’ve seen in Glamour, or ENews, or Playboy!  I would love to see a nude revolution.  What would happen if we took the shame and sexuality out of nudity? A breast would be a breast would be a breast.  An ass an ass an ass.  A woman is a woman is a woman.  All of us different and unique and all of us stunningly beautiful.  If we were all naked we might start to see the essence of our beings rather than a body I must fuck.  Or a standard I must achieve.  We might all start accepting one another on a level playing field.  Religion has put shame in our bodies since the first chapters of the Bible when Adam and Eve covered themselves with leaves.  It’s time to take religion out of our bodies and leave the shame behind.
Real women take pride in your bodies and the life they give you.  Real women lose the shame and understand your beauty is far more than skin deep.  Real women look in the mirror and smile and recognize that you are just as beautiful as a Kardashian…because each of us has beauty.  Real, genuine beauty.

What Christianity Taught Me About Being A Woman

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This post is about what Christianity taught ME about being a woman, life and MY sexuality.  I understand that not all christian women feel this way but this was my journey.

I have never spent so much time questioning what it means to be a woman.  The definition and role of woman has been taught to me in my christian upbringing and just as I did with the belief of JC, son of God, I never questioned it…I just did the “right” thing in the eyes of God and the eyes of my peers and leaders.

Since becoming an atheist I often question whether I believe religion is harmful and worth fighting or if it’s best if we all just agree to disagree.  While I don’t think most forms of christianity are intentionally harmful to young women and adult women alike I do think the patriarchal teachings inherently affect women’s identities with their sexuality, roles, ideas, etc.  My own personal beliefs over the past 30 years have had a definitive role in my marriage, self esteem, and inhibitions and I’ve spent the last year trying to break free of some very damaging leftovers and trying to renegotiate what it means to be a woman.  I don’t believe there is one standard definition…as always there are varying shades of grey with which to define woman. Without remaining in the confines of the religious definition and without conforming to the completely secular and cultural definition I end up creating what I want my personal definition to be and that’s complicated.

Christianity (or my interpretation of christianity) taught me:

My virginity was sacred for my future husband.  It wasn’t about the enjoyment I would get from my first sexual experience.  Rather the focus was not being flawed or dirtied for my husband.  So I had a virginity ring that I wore until my wedding night.  And let me tell you a little about my wedding night…for a year prior to our wedding Mark and I turned off all sexual feelings for each other and withheld from anything other than kissing so we could honor God and our marriage bed would be absolutely pure (although Mark had already lost his virginity…a common double standard).  The purity of the marriage bed mostly relies on the virgin female.  Needless to say the “deed” happened and Mark proclaimed “You are not a virgin anymore!” to which I curled up in a ball on the floor and cried tears of shame and regret.  In fact I had so much shame (even though I did everything “right”) that I canceled breakfast with my family the next morning because I couldn’t look anybody in the eye knowing that they knew I was no longer a virgin.  I wish I could rewind time and celebrate the joy of sex for myself and find enjoyment in the act of having sex for the first time.

Christianity taught me to suppress my sexual urges and curiosity.  Each time I experimented sexually with a boy whether it be kissing or touching I was riddled with guilt and shame.  I felt there was something wrong with me that I desired these feelings.   I had to hide what I was doing and repent frequently.  Suppression taught me to be disingenuine with people.  To hide a part of me.  It affected the first years of my marriage as I had spent so much time fighting my sexual urges and suppressing them that I didn’t know how to turn them back on.  I didn’t know how to enjoy my sexuality without the guilt associated with it.

Christianity taught me that if a man lusted after me I did something to cause his sin.  This was difficult as a young woman who developed large breasts by age 14 and found them hard to always cover up.  I felt guilty and dirty for ever causing a man to lust.  Even though my intentions were not to bring attention to myself.  Today I try to celebrate the beauty of having a large bustline and show them off for my husband but I still find myself mostly trying to cover them up for fear I will cause another man to stumble or another woman to judge me.

Christianity taught me that my body was dirty and sexual topics are all taboo.  Sex Ed was unheard of in my private school and in fact I remember that being a hot topic about public schools.  Parents didn’t like it.  I knew so little about my body and sex going in to marriage that I still didn’t know how I could get pregnant.  I remember being afraid of sitting on a toilet seat that might have sperm on it and I would get pregnant (I don’t know why I ever thought there’d be sperm on a toilet seat but that’s another topic!).  I didn’t know how to use a condom or birth control.  I knew very little about STDs and still know very little about STDs.  I couldn’t tell you what my vagina looked like or the various external parts to it.  I couldn’t tell you how I liked to be touched because masturbation was a sinful act.  I can vividly remember the few times I read a steamy book or saw a porn film on cable t.v. to which I masturbated and I vomited afterward thinking I was such a horrible person.  It’s taken me nearly 15 years but I can finally say that I actually see beauty in masturbation and there is no longer any shame in that word or the act.

Christianity taught me that tattoos defile the temple (our bodies) and God has asked us to keep our temples pure.  I recall looking down at any person who chose to ink their bodies.  Today I find tattoos sexy and liberating and in fact getting a tattoo on my back was my first stance against my religious beliefs (that or voting for a Obama, a democrat!).  What liberation!

Christianity taught me to judge others.  Girls who “caused” men to lust or slept with guys were all sluts.  I tried to stay far away from them as their sin might be contagious.  Women who worked outside the home and focused on their careers were not following God’s plan for a spiritual wife.  Homosexuals were acting in sin and needed to repent or pray the gay out.  Smokers were addicts in need of God.  Porn watching husbands were guilty of affairs (Matthew 5:28).  Churches that had women as leaders were not really biblical and should not be attended.  People who didn’t tithe were not genuine christians.  Women who had abortions were murderers.  Evolution believers were employed by Satan.  People who practiced yoga were open to demonic forces.  Those who had not been baptized were not able to go to heaven.  Everything was black and white.  Everything!  It was such a high standard to have to maintain and anybody who was failing was up for judgement including myself.

Christianity taught me that a man is the head of the house.  All final decisions are made by the man.  If we are in disagreement he gets the final say.  This left me often feeling I was without a voice.  Resentment.

Christianity taught me that spanking my children was an active and positive form of discipline.  In fact I was a big advocate of Growing Kids Gods Way and now I hate the practices of those teachings.  It robs children of any choice.  It teaches a patriarchal dictatorship and that is no way to parent children.  I spanked often not as a last resort but as an only choice of discipline.  I refuse to spank my  boys now.  There are many effective ways to discipline and the tools given to us by Love and Logic are fabulous for both christian and secular families alike.

Christianity taught me that science was evil.  I went to public junior high school for a whole 4 days.  On day 4 they taught us about the Big Bang Theory.  Day 5 I found myself back in christian school.  I shunned science so much that even in college I missed great opportunities to learn about evolution.  Hell, I have a degree in animal science and I left college with zero knowledge of evolution because I dismissed it as evil.

Christianity taught me that sex was the right and enjoyment of my husband.  It did not teach me that sex is equally as enjoyable for me and that there’s lots of fun variables to sex.  I believed that if a man had an affair it’s because his wife was withholding sex.  It usually boiled down to her fault for getting fat or saying no to sex or to being boring in bed.  But on the flipside experimenting with my husband was always scary and I often wondered what God was thinking.  It was never just me and Mark.  It was always me, Mark and God.  Creepy.  I’m thankful I have lots of years left for fun in the sack with just me and Mark this time around!!!!!

Christianity taught me to be a one issue voter.  If the candidate supported abortion then he’s out.  If the candidate supported gay rights…no way!  But if the candidate says He loves Jesus Christ…he’s clearly meant for the position.

Christianity taught me that my husband was to be my spiritual leader.  He was to lead me in prayer, devotions, and he was responsible for the spirituality of our children.  This was one of the most frightening things to me when Mark announced he was no longer a christian.  I feared not having a spiritual leader in our home and I was used to being shepherded.  I have since learned how empowering it is to rely strictly on myself for my spiritual needs.  It is my responsibility to meditate, to run, to calm my mind and body.  What a relief to not rely on another person for such a deep part of my life.

Being a christian woman taught me disdain for the feminist movement.  Feminists, in my opinion, were responsible for the breakdown of families.  They clearly didn’t understand their role in the family and were putting men in positions that challenged their maleness.  They promoted female sexuality, women in the workplaces, equal rights, abortion, the ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ mentality.  All that seemed contrary to biblical teachings.  Now I would call myself a feminist in the making and I’m astonished at how negative my viewpoint of my own gender has been.  That is rapidly changing and I’m becoming empowered as a female.  I’m fortunate to have a very feminist husband by my side 🙂

I was taught that a woman is soft spoken.  The pride of her husband.  Worth more than rubies.  (All over the book of Proverbs).  But only if she was just right.  I have always had a foul mouth and have been direct with my words.  The difference is I now recognize that a foul mouth and stating my opinion do not make me less worthy.  They do not make me less of a wife or less of a woman.  They are not my sinful nature that need praying out.  They are simply me.  So I still swear and I still am often bold with what I share but I no longer feel shame or the need to seek forgiveness for what I once considered flaws.

Christianity taught me to be an elitist.  I don’t know where this came from as Jesus is very intent on teaching us to help the poor but somewhere along the line I, along with the entire republican party, starting living by the motto that God only wants us to help those who help themselves.  I lost sight of the fact that so many people are not able to help themselves.  I looked down on addicts, alcoholics, homeless, teen or single moms.  They made bad choices and that’s between God and them.  I will help those who lost a spouse or are just having a few bad months.  I became the judge and jury.  Not only was I elite in who I was better than but I was elite in the sense that I had the ONE true God and all others were fools or evil.  You don’t get any more elitist than that.  Today I no longer believe in borders or the American, Christian dream.  I no longer think you need to believe like me.  I no longer believe that some of us deserve heaven and some hell.  I think we are all on equal ground.  The rich.  The poor.  The educated and uneducated.  The christian and areligious.

Christianity taught me to view the world in right and wrong.  There was no middle ground.  Either God commanded it or He didn’t.  Premarital sex, drugs (although I’m not sure where the Bible talks about that), gossip, vanity, thought crimes, stealing, homosexuality, science, lusting: all wrong.  Praying, serving, attending church, tithing, proselytizing, taxes, spanking: all right.  It taught me to not think. It taught me to stifle doubt and to remove questioning.  Today I am an absolute skeptic.  I challenge everything and process everything presented to me and determine what makes the most sense.  Not all things are black and white.  In fact very few things are outside of grey.

Christianity taught me to hide my thoughts.  Not only to hide them but to shun them.  I find the female body to be extremely sexy.  In fact I’d say that it is far sexier than the male body.  I have feared any feelings of arousal I’ve ever experienced when viewing a naked woman or a very attractive clothed woman.  I have no desire to ever be with a woman sexually but I can certainly be stimulated by an attractive female.  Admitting that does not make me gay or any other label one would want to slap on me.  It simply means that I can admit that breasts are beautiful.  Ask any gay man and he will still tell you that the female body is gorgeous.  It’s art really.  I’m tired of hiding that reality for fear of judgement.

Above all else christianity taught me fear and shame.  I feared every misstep that I took.  I feared and found shame in my humanity.  I feared that God was shaking His head at that defiant and clearly christian challenged human named Amy.  I feared hell.  I feared failure.  I feared sexuality.  I feared pleasure.  I feared “sin”.  I feared God which ultimately made me a great christian.
Today I’m still breaking free from the christian bondage that formed so much of who I am today.  And with each challenge I give myself I find immense freedom.  Today I may still be a slightly damaged woman.  A woman damaged by the grips of religious indoctrination but tomorrow I trust that a near liberated woman will emerge and will experience the true existence of being female.  What an honor.